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Issue #59, China: Shigu and Zhongdian, April 18-19, 2003. Photographs and Haiku by Jonathan, with a few haiku by Barbara Lenssen.

4/18 stone drum village,
tiger leaping gorge, zhongdian

flat-headed driver
honks before passing blue truck
we talk of culture

there is a saying
the cantonese eat all legs
except table legs

open pit latrine
at random chinese truck stop
above the yangtze

strategic crossing
for mao, genghis and zu ge ling
on way to tibet

sweating profusely
while the driver navigates
rural interstate

road construction crew
doing everything by hand
in orange baseball caps

houses of mud bricks
and rough timber construction
plus sattelite dish

our driver on cell
roaring above the yangtze
precarious cliff

traffic obstructed
by spontaneous street market
spilling into street

digging in her ear
lady holds green umbrella
at the leaping gorge

coming face to face
with the community loo
in southwest china

somehow they manage
to fix the road while letting
the tour bus pass

backbreaking work
seventy-five cents an hour
most wearing suit-tops

4/19 zhongdian, shutu lake,
gadan song lin monastery -
1679 by 5th dalai lama

while we eat breakfast
black mother sow and piglets
forage for garbage

tibetan shelters
leaking charcoal under eaves
from suppertime fire

plowing fields with yaks
slow paced, plodding and planting
potatoes follow

cell phone transmitter
towers over white stupa
give buddha a call

rhodendron tree
with moss hanging like tinsel
on north face of shore

raising my eyebrows
at a sign that invokes me
to cherish the lawn

resting with orange moss
early spring at a chinese lake
yak meat in belly

two cows in a pit
tearing apart a cardboard box
one dead cow nearby

mixing wool with clay
for a fine, slow-drying mud
in sculpture workshop

twenty timbers each
mud walls pounded wet and thick
house in shangri-la

the evolution
of the traditional house
is pursued by all

training the body
not to be led by the mind
tibetan teaching

pig, goat and snake
three poisions in the wheel of time
ignorance, desire, jealousy

in the wheel of time
do not be a hungry ghost
with a tiny throat

seven bowls under scrolls
can't remember
details of the linneage
just method, wisdom

at the museum
docents follow intently
while pictures peel from the wall

unable to speak
of tibetan history
next to chinese guide

late afternoon breeze
prayer flags ripple in the wind
old mud walls crumble

designs of butter
made for devotional shrine
monk repeats mantras

Barbara Lenssen's Zhondian haiku

mighty yangtze calm
reflections of tall mountains
first bend of river

teeth chattering road
construction provides massage
weary passengers

tiger leaping gorge
steep steps bring rapids, close, spray
kayaks not survive

satellite dishes
inside houses have no plumbing
they prefer t.v.

prayer flags fluttering
blue sky, white clouds, red fire
green water, yellow earth

roadwork jams traffic
precipitous, treacherous
gail refuses to look

pinetrees on hillsides
terraces covered with graves
cement covers dead

two buckets, a pole
watering gardens by hand
green rice in paddies

4/20 flying from zhongdian to kunming,
western hills, guilin

everybody's smoke
is everyone's problem
sucking in blue air

polluted green lake
above hand-chiseled walkway
that took years to carve

stone buddhas look out
at butterflys in up draft
seeking cliff flowers

vacant mao peace park
next to vibrant market
turtles in tubs

the peaceful revolution
bird market nearby

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen